PA – The Sabbatical

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July 1, 2013 by Dr. G

July 1st marks the beginning of a new journey for me, one I have not yet taken advantage of – it is called “the sabbatical.”  I’ve seen many puzzled looks from students about this, especially when they ask me what I’m teaching next year, and my response is, “I’m not – I’ll be on sabbatical.”

So, what is a sabbatical?  Here is the Penn State definition: “Sabbatical Leave provides a leave of absence with pay for purposes of intensive study or research to increase future contribution to the University. A sabbatical is a privilege which may be granted to individuals who have demonstrated by publication, teaching, exhibition or performance an above average ability in scholarship, research, or other creative accomplishment.”  Tenured faculty are allowed to apply for a sabbatical every six years, and the sabbatical can be for one semester or one year.  The sabbatical relieves the faculty member of classroom teaching and campus/university service, so that full time and attention can be devoted to research.

I have just finished my 12th year at Penn State Brandywine (the campus was named Penn State Delaware County when I first started!), and I have not yet taken advantage of a sabbatical opportunity.  I decided the timing was right for me to apply for a sabbatical, as I have many research projects on my plate and many more opportunities I want to pursue that are challenging to accomplish when I am in the classroom teaching.

Applying for a sabbatical was not an easy decision.  The part I enjoy most about my job is the classroom teaching and mentoring undergraduate students, and now, I won’t be teaching or interacting with students for an entire year.  I am so used to the academic calendar, that now, the only calendar I have is one that I set for myself.

What will I be doing during my sabbatical?  My main project will be creating a set of what I call GEO-Logic problems (here is one I have created, as an example).  I had designed a series of these grid-format logic problems back before I came to Penn State, and I want to develop a new set of them to use with my students and to also make available to the middle and high school teachers I work with.  There are so many subjects I would like to make GEO-Logic problems for – water issues, sustainability… my challenge is blocking off the time to create the problems.  I know from my past experience that I need large blocks of uninterrupted time to create these problems, and having the time off from teaching and service will give me that time.

I will also be spending much time devoted to a National Science Foundation grant on which I am a co-principal investigator.  For our Targeted Math Science Partnership grant, I will be “camping out” in the Penn State Earth and Space Science Partnership (ESSP) office in University Park (1-2 weeks a month) to work with my colleagues to continue to make progress on the grant.  I won’t be blogging about all of my visits to UP – but, there will be additional conferences I will be attending (and blogging about!).

To make sure I don’t keep my nose in my laptop computer 24/7, I’m going to spend some time outdoors at Tyler Arboretum.  I serve on the Board of Trustees for Tyler, and I’ll be blogging about my visits to the arboretum at the Journeys of Dr. G at Tyler blog.  Be sure to check it out!

STUDENTS – I WILL MISS TEACHING YOU THIS YEAR!  But not to worry – after I immerse myself in my research for a year, I will be more than ready to jump back in to the classroom with some innovative course designs (maybe even some GEO-Logic problems!).

One thought on “PA – The Sabbatical

  1. […] to June 30, 2014, I was on sabbatical from teaching at Penn State Brandywine (students, you can read my initial post when I kicked off my sabbatical).  It was an interesting journey, filled with opportunities and […]

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Excited for today’s awards ceremony of the @PSUBrandywine Un-Canny Competition! So thankful for the hard-working student volunteers & generous donors that made this possible. The real winners are the @visitmediapa Media Food Bank, who will receive 1,240 food items. #psubwuncanny #fightinghunger #foodsecurity #sustainabledevelopmentgoals #SDG2
Today is public viewing day of our campus Un-Canny Competition structures, and the opening of the online voting for the People’s Choice Award! All structures & student posters can be viewed online at https://tinyurl.com/uncannyview One structure is Prosperity Park, demonstrating how individuals of different backgrounds can unite to accomplish remarkable things for mankind and the environment (created by the Sustainovation Club and Multicultural Student Club). #SDG1 #SDG10 #SDG11 #SDG14 #SDG15 The Women in Engineering Team created Let Them BEE to call attention to our pollinators. #SDG2 #SDG12 #SDG13 #SDG15 The R2LN engineering students created Spills That Kill to address the issue of environmental degradation - specifically, the impacts of oil spills on aquatic life and the ocean environment. #SDG14 The Civic and Community Club tells us that Education is the Key to Sustainability with a staircase of books that leads up to the golden key. #SDG4 The MARCOMM Club brought us MARCOMM CITY, with green businesses, green roofs, public recreation areas, etc. #SDG11 The sophomore engineering team built a Castle On The Hill to reflect how difficult it can be for societies to access clean water #SDG6 Our final structure is from the Accounting Club with Money On My Mind, calling attention to #SDG8 for sustainable economic growth and and a healthy workforce These 1,200+ food items will be donated to Media Food Bank after the competition to help with local food insecurity. But first, you can help us select The People’s Choice Award! Vote for your favorite structure (until 5PM Monday!) tinyurl.com/uncannyview #psubwuncanny @psubrandywine #sustainabledevelopment #fightinghunger #sustainabledevelopmentgoals #SDGs
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